The Messenger – November 2021
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Message from Pastor Mike
On the first day of
the week when we
gathered…” [Acts 20:7]
I’ve been thinking about Sunday lately!
Yes – ever since I came back to the church from the Soup Kitchen, from making breakfast for C.A.R.E.S. that Sunday morning, March 15, 2020—when the parking lot was empty, the church was quiet. That Sunday morning did not feel like Sunday morning, not the way it was “supposed” to feel! Since that time, Sunday has taken on many different personalities. For more than a year, the church building was quiet. Worship took place in our homes, in front of computer screens, on any day of the week. Soon we held worship periodically at Camp Nawakwa, then in our parking lot, and finally moving back into the worship space. As we have come back into the worship space on weekends to worship, we are nowhere close to the worshipping numbers we have enjoyed in the past.
As a child, Sunday descended with a different feeling. Quiet set in. People stayed home. Families gathered. Traffic disappeared. Stores closed. Business windows were dark. The whole world felt expectant with anticipation. I could hear bells ringing. My parents hurried we six children to the car so we would not be late for church. Indeed, Sunday was distinct from every other day of the week. Any child could see that, even when we did not know quite why; but on Sundays, something unseen, something enormous was happening.
I don’t write this as some nostalgic dream from the past. Rather, as a recognition that even in a world that has gone computerized and global, even prior to March 15, 2020, at St. James, Sunday mornings had a taste of otherness about them.
For Christians, I believe that Sunday mornings give us an insight into another way to be human, drawing us to recognize the spiritual parts of life, parts that make life worthwhile. Relationship is a most important one! To the Christian mind, Sunday is a “Little Easter.” The collective memory of the moment when the tomb opened, empty of the death it tried to contain, and new life began! It is the moment when the Christian community remembers together again that death does not have the final word, that evil cannot prevail, that Jesus lives yet still—that we are called to be new people! We are a people of a new beginning and sustained hope!
Like Muslims on Fridays and the Jewish community on Saturdays, Christians gather weekly to give common voice to our gratitude to God for the Life that gives life within us. So, renewed in that spirit, we can commit ourselves to building the world God intends for us to build.
I’ll keep thinking about Sunday, longing for the time our worship space is overflowing once again in prayer, song and fellowship!
Peace and love, pastor mike
Another Message from Pastor Mike
“Stewards in specific places, in certain roles, only for a time”
In announcing my retirement from my call as lead pastor here at St. James, effective following Sunday services on February 27, 2022, I am asking you, yet one more time to trust me: trust me that I have put much thought and prayer into when this can best take place. Trust me that I believe the work of the church will continue here with vitality and strength! Trust God and me in believing that it is God alone who calms our troubled spirits! Some people say there is never the “perfect” time to retire. For me, I have wanted to delay until the pandemic had lessened, and until we have been at full staff—both of which I hope will have taken place by February. I have made this decision after prolonged prayer, thought-filled conversations, and profound reflection! I have made this decision with you—the members of St. James—clearly in my mind. My heart overflows with many different emotions. You have entered into my life and the life of my family! I have entered into your lives. Together we have shared this mutual journey guided by the love of God!
“To everything, a season, a time for every purpose under heaven”
Message from Pastor Andrew
“See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; 4he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”
In the life of the Church, we begin the month of November with the lesser festival of All Saints. Reflecting back on the history of the Church, we have, from the very beginning, looked toward exemplary women and men, living and dead, to encourage us in our life of faith. The Twelve apostles, Christian martyrs across time and space, great teachers, influential leaders, missionaries, and the like, formalized into the Church calendar by way of principle festivals and commemorations.
By the time Luther and other 16th century reformers rolled around, many, Luther included, began to feel as though there was more focus on these saints throughout the Church year than on Christ himself. And too, questions began to arise around what it is that deems a person a “saint.” With all of this, basing his beliefs strictly on the Word, Luther developed his theology around sainthood. As printed in his Large Catechism; “God’s Word is the treasure that makes everything holy. By it, all the saints have themselves been made holy. At whatever time God’s Word is taught, preached, heard, read, or pondered, there the person, the day, and the work is hallowed, not on account of the external work but on account of the Word that makes us all saints.”
The tradition of many congregations today places the festival of All Saints on the weekend after Reformation. Here at St. James, our All Saints worship typically draws our focus around those members of the faithful who have gone before us and how they have impacted our lives. We name those who have died throughout the past year, tolling the church bell for each. We gather around the table of grace and partake in the meal that extends from life to death and into the kingdom of heaven. And we hear the Word that makes us all saints.
As a Lutheran Christian, I am grateful for the work of our 16th century reformers, shifting our focus around sainthood from only those exemplary people to each and everyone of us, regardless of what we have done or left undone. That just as Saint Peter – who denied Jesus three times – is granted sainthood, as Saint James and John – who sought positions of power from Jesus, contradictory to his teaching – are granted sainthood, as Saint Paul – once enemy of the Gospel and murderer of Christians – is granted sainthood, so too am I… so too are those whom I love… so too are you… not because of our faithful acts, but because of God’s faithful acts.
On this year’s All Saints Sunday, after a couple of difficult years, when so many of our relationships have been challenged even damaged, it does us good to remember that we are all in this together. None of us any better than the other. Each of us, equally saint and sinner, equally guilty of failing to live as God has called us, equally forgiven. May we live into our sainthood as best as we are able, strengthened by God’s Word.
Memo from the Minister of Music
O When the Saints Go Singing In
Choosing appropriate music for each service takes careful thought and deliberation. Fortunately, Tim Braband created an excellent cross-referenced spreadsheet of the St James choir library. This tool is an immense help in finding the right anthem for each Sunday. While looking over the many choices for All Saints Sunday (Nov. 7), I came across one entitled Oh, How Blest Are You Whose Toils Are Ended. I knew immediately that this anthem would be the perfect choice because its composer, Carl Schalk, found himself numbered among the saints in glory earlier this year.
Born in 1929, he led a distinguished career as a composer, lecturer, and author. He taught church music at Concordia University Chicago, developing the Master of Church Music degree program. He was a member of the commission that developed the Lutheran Book of Worship in 1978 and was for many years editor of the journal Church Music. He served on the advisory committee of Concordia Publishing House and on the board of directors of the Lutheran Music Program, the organization that continues to operate the Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival. His final book, Singing the Faith, was published just last year (MorningStar, 2020). His collaborations with poets Jaroslav J. Vajda and Herbert F. Brokering resulted in such well-known hymns as Thine the Amen, Thine the Praise, the communion hymn Now the Silence, and the Christmas hymn Before the Marvel of This Night.
The text for Oh, How Blest Are You Whose Toils Are Ended was written by German hymnwriter Simon Dach in the year 1635. Schalk selected three of the five original stanzas in an English translation by none other than Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807-82. I offer the text as it is appears in the anthem as a tribute to all who have died in the past year.
Oh, how blest are you whose toils are ended, Who through death have unto God ascended! You have arisen from cares which keep us still in prison.
Christ has wiped away your tears forever; You have that for which we still endeavor; To you are chanted songs that ne’er to mortal ears are granted.
Come, O Christ, and loose the chains that bind us; Lead us forth and cast this world behind us. With you the Anointed, finds the soul its joy and rest appointed.
Jonathan Noel, Minister of Music
Biographical information gleaned from article In Memoriam: Carl Flentge Schalk, 1929-2021 by Michael D. Costello in CrossAccent: Journal of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, Vol. 29, No. 1, Spring 2021.
Wednesday Morning Bible Study
10:00—11:30 a.m. (Pastor Mike leading)
Each week, we will look at the second scripture text for the upcoming Sunday. This fall many of these readings are taken from the Letter to the Hebrews. Hybrid model (in-person and on Zoom) for now, please contact Katy to receive Zoom link and handouts. Join any week you can!
Thursday Morning Bible Study
10:00—11:30 a.m. (Pastor Andrew leading)
Thursday morning Bible study focuses on Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. For those interested in joining on Thursday morning, please email Pastor Andrew for the Zoom link. We gather via Zoom each Thursday at 10:00 a.m. New participants are always welcome!
November 7 — All Saints Sunday
Of all three years of the lectionary cycle, this year’s All Saints readings have the most tears. Isaiah and Revelation look forward to the day when God will wipe away all tears; in John’s gospel, Jesus weeps along with Mary and all the gathered mourners before he demonstrates his power over death. On All Saints Day we celebrate the victory won for all the faithful dead, but we grieve for our beloved dead as well, knowing that God honors our tears. We bring our grief to the table and find there a foretaste of Isaiah’s feast to come. Readings: Isaiah 25:6-9; Wisdom 3:1-9 (alternate); Psalm 24; Revelation 21:1-6a; John 11:32-44
November 14 — 25th Sunday after Pentecost
November begins with All Saints Day and ends in or near Advent, when we anticipate Christ’s coming again. It is fitting, then, that the readings today tell of the final resurrection and the end time. In the turmoil of hope, fear, and disbelief that these predictions provoke in us, Hebrews sounds a note of confident trust. Christ makes a way for us where there is no way, and we walk it confidently, our hearts and bodies washed in baptismal water, trusting the one who has promised forgiveness. The more we see the last day approaching, the more important it is to meet together to provoke one another to love. Readings: Daniel 12:1-3; Psalm 16; Hebrews 10:11-14 [15-18] 19-25; Mark 13:1-8
Blessing of the Quilts
From a poem by Patricia Hauze:
Guide my hands to work as Your hands work,
to know the power of Your love in every stitch I make, in every thread I knot.
May my hands be guided by the same love and care with every quilt I make,
knowing that this love and care was and is and will continue to be a gift to the one it is intended for.
November 21 — Christ the King Sunday
Even after Israel had experienced the vagaries of kings, the people still longed for a true king to set things right. He would have the king’s title of Anointed One (Messiah); he would be the “one like a human being” (Son of Man) given dominion in Daniel’s vision. Jesus is given these titles, even though he is nothing like an earthly king. His authority comes from the truth to which he bears witness, and those who recognize the truth voluntarily listen to him. We look forward to the day he is given dominion, knowing his victory will be the nonviolent victory of love. Readings: Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14; Psalm 93; Revelation 1:4b-8; John 18:33-37
November 28 — 1st Sunday of Advent
Advent is about the “coming days.” God’s people have always lived in great expectation, but that expectation finds specific, repeated enunciation in the texts appointed for these four weeks. The ancients anticipated a “righteous Branch to spring up for David.” The Thessalonians awaited “the coming of our Lord Jesus with all the saints.” Jesus’ contemporaries hoped for the time “to stand before the Son of Man.” With them we eagerly await the coming days: another Christmas celebration, a second coming, and the advent of Christ in word and supper. Readings: Jeremiah 33:14-16; Psalm 25:1-10; 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13; Luke 21:25-36
October Council Meeting Highlights
Pastor Allwein’s Retirement
Pastor Allwein announced his retirement from ministry at St. James. His last day will be February 27, 2022. Letters announcing his retirement were mailed to the congregation on October 20. Council wished him well and thanked him for his 18 ½ years of service to the St. James. With the end of Pr. Allwein’s call, Pr. Geib’s call ends as well. Kyle Smith reported that the following steps will occur:
- On October 21, Council President must call the synod to report to the bishop that Pr. Allwein will retire.
- A synod representative will arrange a meeting with Council to inform Council of the steps needed to replace Pr. Allwein.
Council approved the church budget for 2022 which is now referred to the congregation for approval at the November 21 meeting. The new budget is $26,979 higher than 2021 or a 3.3% increase. The total budget is $843,819.
Council also approved the ELC budget of $863,749. This is an increase of $107,000 but they will receive a state CCIS increase of $66,000 and grants will likely help support the increase.
The Sharing Ministry proposed a budget of $23,400 to be divided among 10 local charities plus an emergency fund. The interest from two large trusts largely supports the ministry. Council approved the budget as recommended by Sharing Ministry to be referred to the congregation at the November meeting.
Undesignated Bequest Recommendations
The Finance Committee recommended that $61,471 undesignated bequest dollars be allocated as follows: $15,000 for air conditioner unit replacement, $25,000 to support the next four years of salary for the Director of Youth and Family Ministry (Year 1-$10,000, Year 2-$7,500, Year 3-$5,000, Year 4-$2,500), and $21,471 to the Endowment Fund. Council approved the recommendation.
Since Property Committee reported that they needed about $30,000 for air conditioner units, the Finance Committee recommended that the additional $15,000 be taken from Endowment Building Fund. Council approved.
Two additional undesignated bequests totaling $35,765.59 were recommended by Finance Committee to be allocated to the Endowment Fund. Council approved.
Capital Campaign Report
Through September 30, 2021
St. James Lutheran Church has received $910,039 in contributions towards the three year Capital Campaign that started in November 2019. The first three quarters of 2021 had $183,585 of contributions and $91,867 of expenses.
The congregation since 2019 has expended $492,705 towards projects plus gifts-in-kind of about $45,000 donated from generous members. Major projects substantially completed include repair and replacement of the roof, generator, and repointing brick and repair of the capstones and replacement of windows on the North East of the building. Also completed were an upgrade to the fire alarm system, new kitchen cabinets and counters, repair of front doors, resurfaced parking lot, and completion of the Worship Area Renewal project. The lower level stairway is completed. The repair or replacement of remaining windows on the south and southeast portion of the building has been approved by the Historic Architecture Review Board and Borough Council and bids requests were sent out and should be obtained to start this project soon. A contract has been signed for the replacement of the A/V and sound system. The Third Columbarium niche has been completed. Replacement of HVAC systems is underway this month.
We are incredibly grateful for the volunteers and staff who have worked tirelessly on the project thus far and the many donors who have made this possible.
All Saints Day
The weekend of November 6 & 7, we remember those who have departed this life since All Saints Day 2020, holding a firm conviction that they are safe in God’s keeping and remembering their lives with thanksgiving:
- Lorene B. “Renie” Hubbard
- Doris M. Spangler
- Joan Miller
- Charles D. Angstadt
- Don Motaka
- Barry Showers
- Bruce Hill
- Mary Shelleman
- Rev. Jay Zimmerman
- Edna Misner
- Marjorie A. (Marge) Troutman
- Arlene K. Lawver
- Carroll Smith Jr.
- Howard W. Hinkeldey
- Lynne Kreisher
- Jamie L. Newton
- Shirley A. (Temple) Williams
- Perry A. A. Fleshman Jr.
- Aurelia J. Currens
- Jeremy A. Plank
- Wilbur M. Crushong
- Patricia E. Moore
- Esther G. Little
- Dorothy Williams
- Richard F. Snively
- Scott Waybrant
- Gladys Woerner
- Michael Gibble
- Mary Woodward
- Isabella Smith
- Grayson Main
- Ronald Miller
- Eric Lindeman
- Helen Lowery
- Nancy Kranias
- Jason Boyer
- Martha C. Showers
- Marlin R. ‘Skip’ Fiscel
- Muriel R. (Lind) Dunlop
- Henry W. Shanoltz
- H. Elizabeth “Liz” Krause
- Charlotte W. Swope
- Janice Decker
- Freda Foth
Messages for Members
- Thank you to all known and unknown volunteers who helped to cut, piece, pin, sew, and knot quilts from April to October. We have 40 beautiful quilts ready for the November 14th blessing and send off to the LWR’s collection site in New Windsor, MD. Thank you, Lois Allwein, Becky Carter, Sally Crist, Greta Englund, Elizabeth Fair, Pegg Gardner, Barbara Hedrick, Sam Main, Barbara Nicks, Paula Shoemaker, Ila Verdiame, Sandy Waybrandt, Carol Widerman, Brenda Heberling, and Cindy Zepp. ~ Claire and Judy
- Mark your calendars for the Congregation Meeting on November 21 @ 12:30 p.m. in the Worship Space. Hybrid Zoom option: stjamesgettysburg.com/NovMeeting
October 30: Amelia Grace Dolbow
October 10: Deanna Ambrose and Juli Ann Ambrose
September 25: Allyson Schubbe and Michael Mangum
October 2: Kirstin Mumaugh and Brandon Frey
September 28: Henry Shanoltz
October 1: Elizabeth Krause
October 17: Charlotte Swope
Upcoming 50+ Wedding Anniversary
November 20: David and Brenda Heberling (51 years)
Questions? Email St. James Youth at email@example.com
Youth Calendar: StJamesGettysburg.com/youth
Boundless National Youth Gathering
July 21—27, 2022
With in person youth programming and confirmation classes in full swing after a brief hiatus due to the things of COVID, our middle school retreat is back this year as well. In the past, this has been a wonderful time in the woods of Camp Nawakwa full of hikes, games, movies, eating smores, worship, and good conversation. This year, the retreat will take place from Friday Nov. 19 – Sunday Nov. 21. All middle schoolers are invited! Friends are always welcome! Please contact Pastor Andrew to register for the event.
Youth Group Schedule
- MS Youth Group – Mondays from 2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- MS/HS Youth Breakfast at the youth house – Wednesdays at 6:45 a.m.
- K-5 Youth Group – Wednesdays from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Note: We will follow the same guidelines the Gettysburg Area School District establishes regarding mask-wearing
Pick up fundraiser cards to take with you to Hoss’s on November 10 for a portion of the proceeds from your meals to benefit the Youth Program at St. James. You must show your actual card when ordering to participate in this fundraiser, so stop by the bulletin board or office at the church to pick some up! Carry-out is available .
Calls to Action
SCAAP Emergency Rent and Utilities Program is a relief initiative to help local individuals who are behind in their rent or utilities in Adams or Franklin County due to the impact of COVID. This is a brand new program designed to have wider distribution in our community to keep people in their homes. SCAAP will direct all monies to those in need this year. The federal government has decreased its annual support to SCAAP which has affected funding for SCAAPs county programs.
Rent Relief — SCCAP (https://www.sccap.org/relief)
Bethlehem Lutheran Church Community Table Outreach began in November 2019. This traditionally black Lutheran church in center-city New Orleans made a modest goal to serve a “small” Thanksgiving meal to their community. From the modest beginning of a single meal, the Bethlehem congregation made contact with partner congregations who were interested in volunteering and began their first fundraising campaign in January 2020. The kick-off at Mardi Gras coincided with the first COVID outbreaks in New Orleans, and led to adjustments like canceling worship services and in-person meals. So Community Table transformed, with the help of its many volunteers, to Community Table ToGo.
St. James would be providing outreach to another Lutheran Congregation in need. We first learned of the Community Table program via contact from Pastor Ben Groth to Pastor Mike. It could lead to an ongoing relationship of shared ministry. Their Community Table program is a growing ministry that engages a wide network of support and community participants. Our Community of St. James could gain valuable insights and fellowship, either virtually or in-person, from partnership with Bethlehem Lutheran Church, while helping to meet some of the needs of feeding a poor community.
Community Table (https://www.blcnola.org/communitytable)
Yemen Humanitarian Relief via Lutheran World Relief: Yemen, one of the world’s poorest countries, is the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Even before Yemen’s civil war started in 2015, half of its population lived below the poverty line, a figure that currently exceeds 60 percent. As many as 10 million people are suffering from malnutrition; and nearly a quarter of a million are in danger of starving. International efforts have produced a transitional government, but de facto control in the countryside is either undetermined or in Houthi hands.
Lutheran World Relief (LWR) helps internally displaced Yemenis (refugees in their own country) survive war and other disasters. With an eye on preventing further spread of the novel coronavirus, their work joins host communities and the displaced to meet urgent needs. This includes emergency assistance such as food distribution and cash transfer support. LWR reaches the most marginalized populations in camps and other areas of significant need. LWR’s work is designed to reduce food insecurity for displaced people and host communities using a mix of direct food assistance and cash micro-grants. Lutheran World Relief also works to improve access to safe water, to promote good hygiene practices by distributing hygiene kits, and to conduct behavior change campaigns among affected populations. LWR has solid working relationships with four local NGOs for handling in-country distribution of funds and relief supplies.
Lutheran World Relief (https://lwr.org/where-we-work/yemen)
Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S. Update
A lot has happened over the past few weeks as C.A.R.E.S. prepared to open in mid-October.
We have scheduled 10 churches as shelter sites beginning on November 15. St. James will host C.A.R.E.S. guests February 7 – February 20.
Personnel: Debra Little has been hired as Program Director. She comes to us highly recommended and has the experience and many skills to work with the homeless.
We have one part-time Support Services Coordinator position open. This is a weekend position.
Volunteers: Our volunteers will soon be contacted to sign up for the overnight shelter positions. New volunteers are always welcome and will be trained.
A Volunteer Coordinator is needed for St. James during the time that we host C.A.R.E.S. That person is responsible for scheduling the host volunteers (not the overnighters) and providing relevant building information to the hosts.
Breakfast: Thanks to Bill Shoemaker for creating a breakfast plan for our guests. He did the same last season when our guests were in a motel and it worked well.
COVID-19 Precautions: C.A.R.E.S. Board of Directors approved requiring all guests, staff, and volunteers to be vaccinated.
Slentz House/Resource Center: Thanks to St. James Property Committee for some major renovations to the property over the summer. This included a new furnace, new flooring in the kitchen and bathroom, and painting in addition to other tasks. The attic may have been Joe MacDowell’s second home!
As we begin our tenth year we are grateful to so many of you who participate in this ministry to our homeless neighbors. C.A.R.E.S. is also one of the non-profits that benefits from the Adams County Community Foundation’s Giving Spree on November 5.
If you are interested in the Volunteer Coordinator position or have any questions about C.A.R.E.S., contact Pr. Mike or Mary Stevenson (717-870-9048).
Holiday Family Outreach
It is that time of year again when we look forward for opportunities to assist our less fortunate neighbors. Holiday Family Outreach will take place on Saturday December 11, 2021. You may make a contribution by sending a check to:
Holiday Family Outreach, P.O. Box 4013, Gettysburg, PA 17325
Poinsettias & Donations for World Hunger
Forty (40) poinsettia arrangements are needed to fill our worship space for the holidays. We also accept donations at this time for World Hunger Relief, and any amount can help us provide the gift of life for those who hunger. You can sign up for either — or both!
Please complete the online form (StJamesGettysburg.com/poinsettias) and send a check by November 24 to take part in this annual event. A list of all donors will be included in our January Messenger.
All checks are payable to St. James Sacristy Committee and should be sent to: Judy Seilhamer, 360 East Lincoln Avenue, Gettysburg, PA 17325
We are Christ’s people, and this is Christ’s house with its doors wide open. If you are passing through, Godspeed. If you are looking for a worship home, stay with us. We invite guests to join us, but most of all, to return often.
Welcome to long-time Lutherans, Christians from every tradition, and people new to faith. Welcome to all who have no church home, want to follow Christ, have doubts, or do not believe. Welcome to new visitors and old friends. Welcome to people of every age and size, color and culture, every sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, socio-economic status, marital status, ability, and challenge. Welcome to believers and questioners, and to questioning believers. This is a place where you are welcome to celebrate and sorrow, rejoice, and recover. This is a place where lives are made new. Come and listen for the Holy Spirit calling you to love your neighbor wholeheartedly, seek justice, create peace, and practice compassion.
As members of the body of Christ, we are called to be ministers of reconciliation both in the church and in the world. Through our baptism we are reconciled to God through the saving grace of Christ Jesus and challenged by the Gospel to be agents of healing and love within our church and society. As a community of faith, we proclaim this statement of welcome.
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